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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  September 3, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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tavis: good evening from los angeles. tonight, in honor of labor day, a conversation with her fester nancy ditomaso, vice dean at rutgers business school about the sid of an employment in america when her latest -- about unemployment in america, the latest tome. we will then give it to a precision with jazz great charlie haden. those conversations coming up right now.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: ask any expert about the best way to get a good job and they will tell you to network my reach out to friends and family will have already made their mark, and have them recommend you for a job. ditomaso nancy -- nancy ditomaso argues a you cannot network with people you don't know.
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and it isn't so much about discrimination as much as favoritism. people hire people like themselves. to put it bluntly, whites higher whites. -- whites hire whites. it is good to have you on the program. let me start by asking you the obvious question. how do you have racial inequality without racism? >> the primary argument in my book is that racial inequality gets reproduced i merely by whites helping other whites more than five whites actively discriminating and doing things to blacks and other nonwhites. because we have focused so much on the issues of race and discrimination, i think that we have missed this very real dynamic, that people essentially get jobs because of the people who are like them help them get their jobs.
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70% ofstudy that i did, the jobs that people got over their lifetimes included some kind of extra help like this. either getting information that other people didn't have. having somebody used influence on their behalf, such as this is my friend, help them. or somebody who could actually offer them an opportunity or a job. tavis: let me play devil's advocate. what's wrong with playing favorites? isn't that the american way? everyone wants to get the hook up. >> it certainly is the way that most people go about getting opportunities in their lives. but we start from a structure of inequality, where whites hold already the best jobs, jobs with them as training, the jobs with the highest income, jobs where they are more likely to be in a position to make the kinds of decisions about who gets hired. therefore, if people are hiring
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others were primarily like themselves, it will simply reduce -- it will sadly reproduce the inequality that arty exists. it can be done without people actively excluding nonwhites. they just have to help people like themselves, primarily whites. tavis: how do someone push back on this notion? i get it. but how do you reduce the trend? out of the that came civil rights movement were primarily about making discrimination illegal. but there was no attention to the other side of making favoritism or advantages illegal. so there does seem to be a need for both companies to do -- companies who do hiring and for public oc issues to address -- and for public policy issues to address access to the jobs that are available to a broader range of people. tavis: so government has ewbe wherenown as mb
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women and minorities have to be allowed to be part of the process, to be able to bid on contract x, y or z. what is the purpose of that inside corporate america? or are they not aware of this white skin was at the benefit from? >> after the civil rights movement was passed and after there was specific presidential orders to pay attention to the of hiring decisions, specifically through affirmative action reporting and so on, then companies did need to pay attention to at the outcomes of their decisions were. but what has happened over time is that there has been more and ofe pushback to that kind counting the outcome and trying to focus the issues on intentions to discriminate. so what is illegal is if someone
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intentionally discriminates. we don't have as many opportunities, either in companies or in terms of of the government regulation, to actually look at the kinds of decisions that get made. so what has happened over time is that there has been, to some extent, a resegregation of some jobs and certainly of housing and of education because we haven't paid attention to the kinds of decisions that are actually being made. let me give an example of the kind of thing i am talking about. i heard the ceo of a major company recently talk about his strong commitment to diversity. and i'm sure that that was very genuine. in fact, he said that the success and viability of his company depended on changing the composition of middle management. he used the language of saying that it was to mail, stale, and
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pale. and what he said was that it was important, given the global reach of his company, to have people be able to work together and with people whose names they couldn't pronounce. yet this same company that has this very strong commitment to diversity was actually rewarding people for recommending their friends. and if they recommended someone that the company hired, that person actually got a reward. so while there was a strong commitment to diversity, they were primarily thinking about it in terms of bias or exclusion and not thinking about what actually took place in the kinds of decisions that got made in that company in terms of how people got hired. instead of in fact having a more diverse pool emerging into middle management, they were going to reproduce the existing workforce because people will likely recommend those who are like themselves. tavis: so it seems to me that
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it's not just that favoritism is unfair. it is also, to my mind, is stupid and, in the long run, will not just intellectually but financially i gripped you if you're trying to advance a company in the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic america without looking beyond the group of family and friends. speak to us about how we come up again, as a country continue to a dance in this book to cultural society -- continue to advance multicultural society? >> one of the key things to think about is globalization. -- this company that i referred to in many other large companies, are primarily growing abroad. their workforces are global. they need to have people that are more diverse in terms of the
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that they hire in the u.s. and the people with whom they work around the world. a very familiar example -- the movie "it's a wonderful life." in that particular movie, uncle billy was obviously hired in the bank because he was a family member. yet he was not necessarily the most conscientious or competent person for the job. we see this unfolding in many different contexts where, if you hire someone who is like yourself, you may believe that person to be more competent, to loyal andkely to be to be conscientious, but that may or may not be the case. if you hire from a broader range of people, chances are, in fact, you can hire a higher-quality
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workforce and get a broader range of skills. tavis: does this notion hold true for women? we talk about the fact that, if white tire whites, but do men hire men and women hire when -- hire women? >> i don't necessarily know that from the data that i have done. there is a certain preference that is given to those who are in the highest level positions and those that already have power in the society. so if men primarily hold those kinds of jobs, men and women might both have an image in their head of what social psychologists call a prototype, that men would be the most competent than the most worthy and we get some preference in terms of the hiring. but i don't necessarily have that kind of data in the study that i did. , offering aearlier good example of a company with a ceo who thought he was committed to a ceo, but they had a program
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where if you have a friend in the higher a friend you get a reward, so people get it folks who look like those who already work there. as my grandmother would say, if that is not the answer to the prayer, what are you asking us and corporations and others to? are you asking us and corporations and others to do? >> when i asked them how they got to where they were in their lives, they said because i worked hard, because i was motivated, because i persisted, and because i was so smart. a gavel is already between how people work with
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their family and friends and how they actually see themselves. tavis: i think we call that delusion. -- at it is a very under very good understanding of how live their lives, but not the way people are in their lives. they spend their lives seeking an equal opportunity. they don't actually want to compete in a way in which they don't know who is going to win. they want to get ahead, to get advantage. so use that kind of land only talk about ourselves and what we like to provide for our children. so if we are going to change these dynamics, then we need to have companies and public policies that pay attention to objective criteria in terms of what is necessary for job and then how people are selected for jobs. and we have those kinds of public policies in the past, but they have eroded over time. i think there is a public interest in knowing what jobs
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are available to what people and how broadly accessible arv to the population at large. tavis: nancy ditomaso is at rutgers. the new book is "the non- dilemma, racial inequality without racism." coming up, a conversation with a jazz great charlie haden. jazz musicians don't get any better than the bassist charlie haden. recipient of the grammy lifetime achievement award. in his earlyjazz 20s and is credited with taking the base from a second instrument to an interval part of any jazz group. it was revolutionary back then. he was also with arnette coleman as they may jazz history back in 1969, charging the bebop
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establishment with a freeform sound that ushered in a new era of jazz. charlie went on to play with the greats. yourinclude all of accomplishments in this introduction, we will never get to talk. and i take a breather? thank you for being on this program. >> [indiscernible] tavis: how did it feel to be so honored by the grammys? >> it felt wonderful because they are all my peers. you know, the grammys do great work. they care about music. realize,o -- i didn't about that lifetime achievement award, he goes back to 1962. the first person to get it was bing crosby.
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when i saw that, i fainted. [laughter] i'm in some heavy company. so i was really appreciative. i got to thank everybody. it was really an honor for me. tavis: you belong on that list though. i mentioned a moment ago -- why such a background instrument before you help push that thing out front? upit's always been like that until the big bandera -- the big band era with duke ellington. and then jimmy blanton, of course, you have heard his name, the guy that really brought the bass out to the forefront. , singings a little kid on the radio with my family, my older brother. -- my older brother played the bass.
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when you listened to a symphony no bass, there isn't much depth. that's why i am a check into it. it's like playing in a rain forest -- that is why i am attracted to it. it's like playing any rain forest. tavis: is it true that you were singing at the age of two? >> yes. my mother used to rock me to sleep. my brothers and sisters would work around the house. she would sing different folksongs. i started humming the harmony. she told me, when you started humming the harmony with me, i knew you were ready for the show. i started when i was 22 months old. [laughter] i was the youngest person in
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iowa to have a social security card. is what they tell me. and we had lots of fun. my dad was a great guy. my mother was wonderful. i was very lucky to be around music from the time i woke up to the time i went to bed at night. tavis: i want to fast-forward because there's no way i can do justice to your career. that's why the grammys give you a lifetime achievement award. given at this for so many years. i want to start with these high moments. at 15, you are struck with polio. tell me about that. >> we had a tv show in omaha. i was going around the golf course with my dad. all of the sudden, i get really feverish. and i kind of faded. -- kind of sainted. -- kind of fainted. i had a temperature of 105.
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the hospitals were filled with polio patients. this is before the vaccine. so the doctor came. and they took me to the doctor's office. i don't remember. always wanted to ask my mom. -- i always wanted to ask my mom. paralyzed. i was it was my vocal chords and the left side of my face. tavis: at 15, you are struck with polio and you can no longer sing. .> that's right t it didn't affect my lungs. it eventually went away. you know, i had to drink a lot of liquids.
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other than that, i was fine. i traveled all over the world. i met my wife. i had triplet daughters and a son. all of a sudden, you know, i was doing birthday concerts every birth day at the blue note in new york with different people. two years ago, i was there and i came back to the hotel and i told ruth, man, i have this devastating headache. i had a headache like this before -- i haven't had a headache like this before. she said, we had to take you to the doctor. so we went and they referred me to a neurologist. they never did come up with a diagnosis. it's kind of a weird thing. it wasn't cancer.
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cat scansll kinds of and that scans and for muscle disease stuff and they couldn't find anything that they could tell me that i had. they could only guess because i had polio when i was younger. they said, charlie, we think you have post polio syndrome. what is that? tavis: but you can still play your base don't. >> yeah. [laughter] tavis: is it true that people just come by your house, all of these rich come by to play with you? >> yeah. tavis: how cool is that? >> that's cool. tavis: if i had a chance to play with you, i would come by your house, too. . what is ruth say about that? last problem with norah , it'sand diana kroll
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called "sophisticated lady." again, it is impossible to do justice to your wonderful legacy, but you played with some of the greats and they have been honored to have you alongside them. know when i say arnette coleman, what comes to mind? and dizzyarlie parker gillespie, i met him at this club in l.a. i said, i heard you play. i would sure love to hear you play. he said, come on over. i said, have to finish doing this [indiscernible] [laughter] we had this little apartment. you couldn't open the door a cover alle was
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over the doorway and all over the dresser. i said, ok. i finally felt like i was doing what i really wanted to do, playing an inspiration of a piece rather than strict code structure, which i do, too. but it was like being reborn for me. tavis: he picked up something off the floor and said, ok, let's play this. >> [indiscernible] [laughter] tavis: that sounds like an arnette coleman story. >> that was a beautiful person, man. other in l.a.h and then we went to new york and we opened at this is called the
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five-star. i started jazz studies at cal arts in 1982. me, whyy students asked do you close your eyes when you play? i said, well, we opened at the five spot. doing his thing and charlie was playing his trumpet. i looked across the bar and there was charlie, [indiscernible] bass player ins new york staring right at me. from then on, i close my eyes. [laughter] tavis: if ride brought a bass pair right now, could you do it with your eyes closed? bring this thing informing. let's thing if we -- let's see if we can work this thing out right quick.
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first of all, can i just say what an honor it was to have guns program? >> thank you. tavis: anything with his name on it, you want to get it and add it to your collection. i will see you back here next time on pbs. in the meantime, good night from l.a. thanks for watching. keep the faith and enjoy. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ask for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley on me next time as we take a deep dive in what is grabbing the country's attention in the coming week. is next time. we will see you then.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be ,pre/
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hello and welcome to "this is us." i'm dr. reed. this week we're in santa cruz at freedom forge, the studio of kirksmith neil. he is going to show us how he's making sculptures and more. you'll meet three other outstanding local artists including the queen of whimsy. we'll find out why her world is a little skewed. renowned landscape painter richard mayhew. and hans skolagard and he tells his story through painting. it all starts now.


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